KENNEBUNK – The select board is proposing a couple of amendments to the consumer fireworks ordinance that expands the distance from buildings that fireworks may be discharged, their duration, and permit requirements. The board set a public hearing for Oct. 12.

The proposed changes would require a town meeting vote.

The amendment would mean  those securing a permit to set off fireworks would have to discharge them at least 75 feet from a building, rather than the 20 feet currently outlined in the ordinance.

Cynthia Fitzmorris

Applicants would also be required to include a sketch or aerial photo – which could be from online sources – of the property where the fireworks would be discharged.

The proposed amendment states that “the duration of any fireworks display allowed under a consumer fireworks permit shall not exceed 30 consecutive minutes in a single day.” The provision is designed to prevent discharges over several hours. No more than one permit per day would be issued for any property.

Board member Shiloh Schulte said the proposed change to 75 feet from a building is in response to concerns about firework debris landing on people’s homes.

“That’s clearly a safety problem,” he told fellow board members at the Sept. 28 meeting.

Board member Kortney Nedeau said she supported most of the proposed changes. She asked if there is a way people could sign up for texts about impending fireworks displays as they do for other municipal news.

Town Manager Mike Pardue said he would look into that suggestion.

Board Chair Blake Baldwin said an idea had emerged that would see a firetruck on hand to oversee when consumer fireworks are discharged, but believed given staffing levels, that it is not an option, and Fire Chief Jeff Rowe agreed.

Consumer fireworks are allowed to be discharged in Kennebunk, by permit, on July 4 and Dec. 31 between 9 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. the following day; and to commemorate special occasions no more than two days per calendar year. The fireworks must be discharged on an individual’s property or with written permission on the property of another. All require permits.

Rowe noted that consumer fireworks are discharged unpermitted in some locales like the western part of the community. He said the ordinance is difficult to enforce. When police arrived at the location, “it’s all over and done with,” he said.

Baldwin, later in the discussion, said he believed most ordinances “aren’t really enforceable,” but are expectations of behavior that carry a mechanism for fines if people do not adhere to them.

Select Board meetings and public hearings are currently held online. For a Zoom link to the meeting, visit https://www.kennebunkmaine.us/agendacenter.

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